Today’s employees want more options; hybrid, fully remote, a four-day work week, and working part-time are a few. If you’re a start-up or a growing company, it can be hard to navigate if you need a full-time staffer or someone to fill in gaps a few days a week.
The Pros and Cons of Part-Time & Full-Time Employees
Offering part-time work options effectively attracts top talent while keeping your company agile and ready to staff up or down according to your needs. But, blending part-time workers with your full-time workforce takes some finesse. Before rolling out a part-time option, consider these pros and cons to determine whether it makes sense for your business.
Start with the basics – what is considered Full-Time?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the primary employment law in the U.S., doesn’t provide a clear definition for part-time or full-time jobs. Depending on your company, the line between part-time and full-time employment can differ.
Most companies will require full-time employees to work between 32 and 40 hours per week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sets the benchmark for full-time employees a little higher, at 35 hours a week, but this isn’t law.
State and local laws vary on providing benefits for part-time employees. Some states may require employers to provide their part-time workers sick leave, paid time off, short-term disability, or health insurance. For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that employees who work 30 hours per week (or over 130 hours per month) must be given the option to receive health insurance benefits, or the business may risk fines.
Higher rates of productivity
A HubSpot report found that lost productivity costs U.S. businesses a shocking $1.8 trillion yearly. Helping a full-time employee drop down to a part-time schedule often lowers a company’s cost more than their productivity losses. Parkinson’s law is the adage that work will expand to fill the time allotted for completion. Deadlines can cause procrastination or even prompt people to fill their time with trivial matters. Employees who drop to a part-time schedule often cut out less important tasks like meetings and finish most of the same work in less time.
Stronger level of employee loyalty
Employers often view full-time employees as more committed to the company and less likely to job-hop than contractors or part-time workers. While this may or may not be true in practice, the perception persists. There’s a stronger sense of belonging, and full-time employees can access all the company benefits and training. The security that company benefits can provide is very valuable.
Beyond receiving benefits, full-time employees get to know their coworkers and build relationships and networks throughout the workplace in ways that part-time employees have fewer opportunities to do so. These connections not only improve day-to-day operations and projects but also help employees feel valued and appreciated and make them more productive and successful over the long term.
Greater training requirements
Full-time IT employees have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the technology they work with. In contrast to part-time employees who may have to learn new technologies and platforms for each project, full-time IT workers can become experts in their tech specialty or field. This technical knowledge, combined with a strong understanding of the company, makes full-time tech employees valuable assets to many organizations.
Cons of hiring full-time employees
It can be expensive and time-consuming to onboard and train a new employee, not to mention paying someone a full salary instead of a half-time wage. Then you add the additional healthcare and benefits; it can add up pretty quickly especially considering the cost if you don’t get the hire right.
Hiring good employees can be challenging, costly, and time-consuming.
The IT job market is hotter than it’s ever been. IT pros have the pick of when and where they want to work.
It’s taking more days to recruit and hire top talent; according to LinkedIn, only 30% of companies are able to fill a vacant role within 30 days. The other 70% of companies take 1 – 4 months to process a new hire. The longer it takes to fill critical positions is costly.
Paying full salaries even during quiet or reduced periods.
When an employee commits to your organization, you commit to them even during the slow months. Regardless of the workload, a full-time employee will still earn the same salary even when a big project has been completed.
Pros of hiring part-time employees
It allows for more nimble staffing for fluctuating ups and downs. It doesn’t always make sense for organizations in volatile industries to ramp up their roster of full-time employees during busy times if they don’t have enough to do during downturns. Or worse yet, you have to lay off those same employees.
If you hire part-time employees to help carry the workload, you give your full-time employees extra support. Part-time workers can also fill in for employees taking sick or maternity leave and work schedules not covered by full-time employees.
You save on salary and employee benefits, especially with the skyrocketing cost of providing healthcare benefits.
Expanding the talent pool
When you consider part-time employees, you’re opening the door to a talent pool you may be overlooking (for example, mothers re-entering the workforce, workers transitioning to retirement, or someone pursuing a passion project on the side).
Not all exceptionally skilled and talented individuals seek full-time employment, so you cast a wider net in your recruiting efforts when considering part-time candidates. What’s more, you may even increase employee retention by offering part-time options to your existing workforce.
Cons of hiring part-time employees
Less invested in your company
If you’re not receiving paid time off, sick days, and education benefits, it’s a valid concern that part-time workers would feel less committed to the organization. For some, this may be a benefit to show up, do the work and head home without the added stress. For others, this may mean they are more inclined to job hop because they don’t feel as valued as their full-time counterparts.
Consistency with your workloads
One con to consider is the struggle of full-time expectations. Those working a full 40-hour workweek may be carrying a heavier workload and can build resentment. A salaried employee is expected to work until the project is complete, whereas a part-time person may leave once they hit their weekly hours.
Lack of face time
It’s hard to ignore that part-time workers aren’t around as much as full-time employees. It can be challenging for managers to include everyone all the time if an emergency meeting is needed and schedules don’t allow everyone to be available to weigh in.
A strong manager needs to help the entire team feel supported and appreciated. Only working half-time may make part-timers feel less a part of the team and more detached. Consider scheduling meetings or team-building activities to accommodate everyone’s work schedule.
There is truly no wrong decision here. Both part-time and full-time employment options are tools in your arsenal to utilize as your business evolves and grows (or stagnates). Part-time employees offer flexibility and potential cost savings, and full-time employees offer more consistent staffing and support for your business needs.